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Why Are Homeowners Removing the Fireplace?

 

December 17, 2019

Some homeowners are viewing the fireplace as more of a liability than an asset—and they’re opting to remove it. After all, there are an average of 22,300 fireplace, chimney, or chimney connector fires each year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Some owners are removing them because of those potential dangers, but others’ reasoning is more design-oriented—they don’t want a fireplace because it’s taking up too much space in their home or even dating their home’s look.

Fireplaces can be conducive to open floor plans. “Recently, I had two clients remove their fireplaces because they were used as dividers between rooms,” Tamara Heidel, a real estate broker at Heidel Realty in Las Vegas, told realtor.com®. They were able to open up the space by removing the fireplace.

Home builders have reported that they’re adding fewer fireplaces into new homes they build.

But losing a fireplace can affect a home’s appeal and possibly even its resale value, real estate pros say. A fireplace can particularly be viewed as a valuable amenity in colder climates, and removing one could even reduce the number of buyers drawn to a property, some agents say.

Fireplaces can add warmth and cozy vibes to listings. “Imagine sitting around the fireplace on a cold night to warm up or marking s’mores with your kids,” says Brett Ringelheim, a real estate pro with Compass in New York. It can be a sought-after amenity among buyers.

That’s why removing it seems absurd to some real estate pros. “You don’t want your home to be labeled ‘the house without a fireplace,’ especially in cold climates,” Benjamin Ross, a real estate professional with the Mission Real Estate Group in San Antonio, Texas, told realtor.com®.

Removing a fireplace isn’t easy, either. “The removal would not only be expensive but could compromise the home’s stability,” Katina Asbell, associate broker at Real Living Capital City Realty in Atlanta, told realtor.com®. The masonry base and chimney tend to be a big part of a home’s structure.

For owners who feel like their fireplace looks dated, it could be cheaper to renovate it, even with just a new coat of paint. Paint it white or replace the mantel, agents suggest.

Jared Greenberg, a real estate pro with Keller Williams Premier Realty in Katy, Texas, told realtor.com® that he’s never had buyers who didn’t purchase a home because it had a fireplace. “Even if someone doesn’t plan on using it, they can turn it into a decorative fireplace and put candles or stacked wood in it,” he says.

Cincinnati City Council Approves 15 New Special Tax Districts for Poor Neighborhoods

Cincinnati City Council Approves 15 New Special Tax Districts for Poor Neighborhoods

Dan Horn, Cincinnati Enquirer

December 18, 2019

City Council approved 15 new special tax districts Wednesday that will shift some money from property taxes to struggling Cincinnati neighborhoods.

Construction of the Washington Park underground parking garage spurred development documented in the “Rebirth of Over-the-Rhine” film

Proponents of the tax increment financing districts, known as TIFs, say they will help poor neighborhoods repair streets, build sidewalks and encourage private investment and development.

Critics, though, say TIFs steal money that otherwise would go to schools and other public services.

Council voted 7-1 to create the new districts, with Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard voting no on all but the one in the West End. She said she spoke to community leaders in that neighborhood and was comfortable the money would be well spent.

TIFs also will be created in parts of these neighborhoods: Camp Washington, College Hill, the eastern riverfront, Mount Airy, Mount Auburn, North Fairmount, Northside, Pleasant Ridge, Riverside, Roselawn, South Cumminsville, South Fairmount, Spring Grove Village and Westwood.

Click here for more details about TIF districts, what they do and why some people object to them.

Reprint provided as a Government Affairs service

of the Cincinnati Area Board of REALTORS®.

How Big Is the Gender Divide in Housing?

How Big Is the Gender Divide in Housing?
Find out what home features women really care about and how they differ from their male counterparts.

November 22, 2019

by Barbara Ballinger

One in five consumers buying a home today is a single woman. This cohort is the second largest group of home buyers in the country, trailing only married couples. What’s more, women now control nearly 60% of all personal wealth in the U.S., according to the National Association of Women Business Owners and the Small Business Administration. Understanding this mighty buying force and their housing preferences will help real estate professionals better serve their clientele.

Meyers Research in Costa Mesa, Calif., conducted a survey analyzing the buying preferences of 33,000 home shoppers, including both men and women with a variety of locations and price points. They found that the influence of the female buyer segment goes further than expected. Not only are women involved in buying their own homes, but they also help guide many single men who seek advice during a home search.

Following the purchase, women often take the reins in deciding what goes into the home, whether they’re buying solo or with a spouse. The interior is considered a reflection of her success and who she is, said Mollie Carmichael, principal and lead strategist with Meyers Research, who presented the survey results during a webinar on “What Women Want in Community and Houses” in October.

At the top of their wish lists, women want a supersized pantry, a tub in her bathroom, a first-floor office, and a front porch. The survey results are also helpful in understanding how female preferences compare to those of their male peers.

Among the many points Carmichael discussed in her webinar, seven are especially key to help brokers and agents work with clients to identify their ideal home.
1. Why they buy. Among women’s top motivations for purchasing a home are family, safety, price, and schools. For men, the prime factor is prestige, but they also care about fitness and family, according to the survey. Single women are more willing to commit to buying than men because they view a home as a wise investment and a way to spend their monthly living expenses wisely, especially since interest rates are low. Women also see homeownership as a way to help lock in their financial security. “They have confidence in the market now and consider it a good time to buy.” Carmichael said. “Waiting would cause a greater sense of insecurity.” Single men, however, are less willing to commit to buying since they’re more transient. They’re more likely to move for a job or relationship, Carmichael said.
2. The importance of location, size, and convenience. Overall, both women and men prefer a suburban location, though men are more willing to consider city or rural living. A male buyer is also more willing to drive longer distances to his job. Women are more likely to work from home, which is why the home office feature is important to female buyers, Carmichael said. When it comes to a home’s size, women prefer smaller—under 2,500 square feet—with more functional design. For men, a bigger home is preferred because they believe it’s more likely to guarantee a “better” lifestyle, Carmichael said.
3. What matters more: indoors versus outdoors. A female buyer loves the interior of her home—it’s one of the prime motivations for her to buy, according to the survey. She seeks a place to socialize with others and alleviate stress. And if it has a large walk-in closet, all the better. While the female buyer cares about outdoor space—and likes the idea of a front porch—it’s an area she’s willing to compromise on for greater intimacy and affordability, according to the survey. A male buyer, however, typically favors the outdoors for socializing and barbecuing. He also likes the idea of a backyard or rooftop deck, though he’s also looking for a larger garage and a media room.
4. Design influences. Countless images on sites like Pinterest and Houzz have opened home shoppers’ eyes to a variety of housing aesthetics. When it comes to favorite looks, both women and men lean toward the modern touch, according to the survey, but his modern is more modern than hers. Men also like Spanish and English Tudor, while women veer more toward casual contemporary and modern farmhouse styles. She’s more willing to consider attached housing and multilevel than he is. The interior design of a home matters greatly to both, and builders have taken note by focusing more attention on interior choices, Carmichael said. Regardless of gender, white remains the top color choice—almost twice as much as other choices. Comfort is also a big selling feature for both women and men.
5. Making changes. The ability to personalize the interior of a home so that rooms reflect the owner’s taste matters more to women than to men. Female buyers favor having utility space, an upgraded kitchen with cabinet “jewelry” and quartz countertops, a bathroom with a tub, guest space to accommodate parents or visitors, and a smart-home hub with remote access to everything from the front door and security systems to appliances. Male buyers prefer keeping costs down and making upgrades later, but when they do personalize, they want wine storage and granite countertops over quartz, the survey found.
6. The pet factor. According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2017 “Animal House: Remodeling Impact” report, 81% of potential buyers said that animal-related considerations will play a role in deciding their next living situation. But the Meyers Research survey found that women, more than men, want to have pets and treat them like family members by giving them a dedicated space in their home with a pet door, bed, and area to wash them. Women also more frequently look for homes in communities that have a dog park, Carmichael said.
7. Bells and whistles. Extra touches in a house or amenities in a community are sometimes the tipping point for a sale. Women care about having a safe place for package deliveries more than men. “This Amazon phenomenon continues to grow,” Carmichael said. Men care more about being able to work out and enjoy healthy living while also have a place to disconnect when they get home. In their community, female and male buyers seek a resort-style pool, fitness center (she likes workout classes; he prefers to exercise independently), and Wi-Fi. A nearby sports park is a preference favored by men, though both men and women say they’d like a basketball court.

Not all properties include the features cited above, but female buyers understand that they’ll have to make tradeoffs, Carmichael said. Heed the tips from this survey and you’ll help more clients find the home of their dreams.

Barbara Ballinger

Barbara Ballinger

Barbara Ballinger is a freelance writer and the author of several books on real estate, architecture, and remodeling, including The Kitchen Bible: Designing the Perfect Culinary Space (Images Publishing, 2014). Barbara’s most recent book is The Garden Bible: Designing Your Perfect Outdoor Space, co-authored with Michael Glassman (Images, 2015).

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What You Should Really Know About Browsing for Homes Online

By: HouseLogic

Published: February 27, 2018

It’s fun! It’s exciting! It’s important to take everything with a grain of salt!

Oh, let’s just admit it, shall we? Browsing for homes online is a window shopper’s Shangri-La. The elegantly decorated rooms, the sculpted gardens, the colorful front doors that just pop with those “come hither” hues.

Browser beware, though: Those listings may be seductive, but they might not be giving you the complete picture.

That perfect split-level ranch? Might be too close to a loud, traffic-choked street. That handsome colonial with the light-filled photos? Might be hiding some super icky plumbing problems. That attractively priced condo? Miiiight not actually be for sale. Imagine your despair when, after driving across town to see your dream home, you realize it was sold.

So let’s practice some self-care, shall we, and set our expectations appropriately.

  • Step one, fill out our home buyer’s worksheet. The worksheet helps you understand what you’re looking for.
  • Step two, with that worksheet and knowledge in hand, start browsing for homes. As you do, keep in mind exactly what that tool can, and can’t, do. Here’s how.

You Keep Current. Your Property Site Should, Too

First things first: You wouldn’t read last month’s Vanity Fair for the latest cafe society gossip, right? So you shouldn’t browse property sites that show old listings.

Get the latest listings from realtor.com®, which pulls its information every 15 minutes from the {{ start_tip 71 }}Multiple Listing Service (MLS),{{ end_tip }} regional databases where real estate agents post listings for sale. That means that realtor.com®’s listings are more accurate than some others, like Zillow and Trulia, which may update less often. You wouldn’t want to get your heart a flutter for a house that’s already off the market.

BTW, there are other property listing sites as well, including Redfin, which is a brokerage and therefore also relies on relationships with brokers and MLSs for listings.

The Best Properties Aren’t Always the Best Looking

A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. But what they don’t say is a picture can also hide a thousand cracked floorboards, busted boilers, and leaky pipes. So while it’s natural to focus on photos while browsing, make sure to also consider the property description and other key features.

Each realtor.com® listing, for example, has a “property details” section that may specify important information such as the year the home was built, price per square foot, and how many days the property has been on the market.

Ultimately though, ask your real estate agent to help you interpret what you find. The best agents have hyper-local knowledge of the market and may even know details and histories of some properties. If a listing seems too good to be true, your agent will likely know why.

Explore More Topics:

Find an Agent & View Homes

Buy a Home: Step-by-Step

Treat Your Agent Like Your Bestie

At the end of the day, property sites are like CliffsNotes for a neighborhood: They show you active listings, sold properties, home prices, and sales histories. All that data will give you a working knowledge, but it won’t be exhaustive.

To assess all of this information — and gather facts about any home you’re eyeing, like how far the local elementary school is from the house or where the closest Soul Cycle is — talk to your real estate agent. An agent who can paint a picture of the neighborhood is an asset.

An agent who can go beyond that and deliver the dish on specific properties is a true friend indeed, more likely to guide you away from homes with hidden problems, and more likely to save you the time of visiting a random listing (when you could otherwise be in the park playing with your canine bestie).

Want to go deeper? Consider these sites and sources:

  • School ratings: Data from GreatSchools.org and the National Center for Education Statistics, and the school district’s website
  • Crime rates and statistics: CrimeReports.com, NeighborhoodScout.com, SpotCrime.com, and the local police station
  • Walkability and public transportation: WalkScore.com and APTA.com
  • Hospital ratings: HealthInsight.org, LeapfrogGroup.org, and U.S. News and World Report rankings

Just remember: You’re probably not going to find that “perfect home” while browsing listings on your smartphone. Instead, consider the online shopping experience to be an amuse bouche to the home-buying entree — a good way for you to get a taste of the different types of homes that are available and a general idea of what else is out there.

Once you’ve spent that time online, you’ll be ready to share what you’ve learned with an agent.

How to Be A Savvy Open House Guest

How to Be a Savvy Open House Guest

By: HouseLogic

Getting smart — about what to do, ask, and avoid — can move you ahead of the crowd.

Ah, the open house — a chance to wander through other people’s homes and imagine yourself knocking out walls and gut rehabbing their kitchens. This is what dreams are made of (or at least episodes of HGTV).

In all seriousness, going to open houses (and scheduled private showings) is one of the most exciting parts of the home-buying experience. Beyond the voyeuristic thrill, visiting houses allows you to assess things that you just can’t see online.

Anyone who has taken a super-posed selfie knows that a picture doesn’t always tell the whole truth. Professional listing photos can make small rooms look spacious, make dim rooms bright, and mask other flaws of a home — but you don’t know any of that until you actually see the house yourself.

You can tour houses at any point, but it can be helpful to first discuss your needs and wants with your partner (if you have one), do some online research, and talk with your agent and your lender. That way, you — and your agent — can take a targeted approach, which saves you time and can give you an edge over your buying competition.

So, before you start viewing, follow these tips to get prepared.

Make It Your Job to Know Which Houses Are “Open”

There are four ways to know when a house is available for viewing:

  • Ask your agent. He or she will have details on specific properties and can keep you informed of open houses that fit your criteria.
  • Use listing websites. A number of property sites let you search active listings for upcoming open houses. On realtor.com®, for instance, when searching for properties, scroll over the “Buy” tab and click the “Open Houses” link to see upcoming ones in your area.
  • Scroll social media. On Instagram, for example, you can search the hashtag #openhouse, or similar tags for your city (#openhousedallas, for example), to discover open houses. Many real estate agents and brokerages also post open house announcements on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter; find ones from your area and start following.
  • Drive around. Cruise through the neighborhoods you’re interested in — it’s a good way to get a sense of the area amenities — and look for open house signs.

And while you’re searching, be sure to jot down the location, time, and date for any open house that strikes your fancy. It will make it that much easier to plan times and routes for hitting as many homes as possible.

Get There Early (and Say Hi to the Neighbors)

If you’re seriously interested in a home, show up to the open house early. That way you’ll beat the rush, and the agent showing the house (AKA the host) will have time to focus on you and your questions.

And don’t be shy! Many home buyers hop from one open house to the next without talking to the listing agent. But chatting up the host can help you learn information that you wouldn’t get by only {{ start_tip 79 }}touring the premises.{{ end_tip }}

If a house seems like a match, take a walk around the neighborhood. Strike up conversations with the neighbors to get an insider’s perspective on what life in that community is really like — families, singles, what the vibe on the block is like, and whether the homeowner’s or condo association (if there is one) is easy to work with.

Explore More Topics:

Find an Agent & View Homes

Buy a Home: Step-by-Step

Ask Lots of Questions, But Avoid TMI

To make the most of your open house visits, have a list of questions in mind for the host — and take notes while you’re there, so you can keep track of what you learned.

At the same time, remember this: Your interaction with the host could be the beginning of negotiations with them. If you end up making an offer, you’ll use the information you’ve gathered to inform your bid. (They’ll also remember that you were an engaged yet courteous person, which can’t hurt your cause.)

Equally important: Oversharing could hurt your negotiating power.

Be careful about what information you share with the agent hosting the event. This person works for the seller — not you. The host can and will use stats they’ve gleaned about you to counter, reject, or accept an offer.

Keeping that in mind, here are eight questions you can ask a host to help determine whether a house is a good fit for you:

    1. Have you received any offers? If there are already bids on the table, you’ll have to move quickly if you want to make an offer. Keep in mind: Listing agents can’t disclose the amount of any other offers, though — only whether they exist.
    2. When does the seller want to move? Find out the seller’s timeline. If the seller is in a hurry (say, for a new job), they may be willing to accept an offer that’s below list price.
    3. When is the seller looking to close? Price isn’t the only factor for many home sellers. One way to strengthen your offer is to propose a settlement date that’s ideal for them. For example, a 30- to 45-day closing is standard in many markets, but the seller may want more time if they haven’t purchased their next home yet.
    4. Is the seller flexible on price? Most listing agents won’t tip their hand when you ask this question, but there’s always a chance the agent says “yes.” And, in some instances, the seller has authorized their agent to tell interested buyers that the price is negotiable. In any case, you might as well ask. (It’s kind of like googling for a coupon code when you buy something online.)
    5. How many days has the home been on the market? You can find this information on the internet, but the seller’s agent can give you context, especially if the house has been sitting on the market for a while. Maybe the home was under contract but the buyer’s financing fell through, or the seller overshot the listing price and had to make a price reduction? Knowing the backstory can only help you.
    6. Has the price changed? You can see if there’s been a price reduction online, but talking to the listing agent is the only way to find out why the seller dropped the price.
    7. Are there any issues? Have there been any renovations or recent repairs made to the home? Some upgrades, like new kitchen appliances, are easy to spot, but some are harder to identify. Specifically ask about the roof, appliances, and HVAC system because they can be expensive to repair or replace. BTW, repairs like a leaky faucet, aren’t {{ start_tip 92 }} things that need to be disclosed.{{ end_tip }}
    8. What are the average utility costs? Many buyers don’t factor utility bills into their monthly housing expenses, and these costs can add up — particularly in drafty older homes. Ask the listing agent what a typical monthly utility bill is during the summer and during the winter, since heating and cooling costs can fluctuate seasonally. Be prepared for higher utility bills if you’re moving from an apartment to a single-family home.

Now that you’ve got your answers, there’s one last thing to do: Thank the host before you go. You never know — you could be seeing them again at the negotiating table soon.

Outdoor Kitchens Continue to Be Major Draw

August 21, 2019

The appeal of outdoor living continues to be important to homeowners, and the outdoor kitchen is at the center of that. The latest American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey shows that outdoor kitchens are among the most wanted kitchen features in new architectural projects.

Nearly 50% of the architect respondents surveyed reported the popularity of outdoor kitchens is still growing. The popularity is seen in markets across the country, and not just in warmer climates like Florida, Texas, and California—outdoor kitchens are also taking hold in colder areas like the Northeast.

AIA outdoor living space survey. Visit source link at the end of this article for more information.

© American Institute of Architects

“Thanks to today’s design trends and technological advancements, the lines between indoor and outdoor kitchens are blurring—and in some cases disappearing completely,” Mitch Slater, founder and CEO of Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens and Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens, told BUILDER. “While it’s now possible to maintain the same aesthetic for indoor and outdoor kitchens, it’s crucial to choose durable, low-maintenance materials that will withstand exposure to rain, snow, and the elements.”

Slater says that powder-coated stainless steel cabinetry remains a popular choice for outfitting outdoor kitchens.

Also, it’s not just barbecues and grills that are highlighting outdoor kitchen spaces any longer. Specialty appliances are also appearing in more outdoor kitchens, such as pizza ovens; smokers; drawer-style, undercounter refrigerators; kegerators; and wine refrigerators.

22 Kitchen Trends That Will Be Huge in 2019

Open shelving is going to change your life—trust us.

kitchen trends 2019

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MAX KIM-BEE
Standout Sinks

You don’t have to go nuts to achieve an on-trend kitchen. While an apron-front sink in a farmhouse kitchen isn’t exactly unexpected, a farmhouse sink in soapstone with brass hardware is a showstopper—especially when it’s set against white walls, wood cabinets, and stainless steel countertops.

SHOP BRASS HARDWARE

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JIM WESTPHALEN
Tons of Texture

For those who fear color, focus on mixing up the finishes. Designer Cathy Chapman chose white beadboard on the ceiling and shiplap for the walls. She used unlacquered brass strap hinges and latches on the cabinets, black marble on the island countertop, and tons of warm woods on the floors, backsplash, and remaining countertops.

SHOP SHIPLAP

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MAX KIM-BEE
Swoon-Worthy Ceilings

When you want to maintain neutrality but still have some fun in the kitchen, shoot for the stars—or in this case, the ceiling. Here, the Madcap Cottage team chose to paint the ceiling a Southern porch-inspired blue (Blue Ground by Farrow & Ball) and added an elaborate antique lantern.

SHOP BLUE PAINT

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JOHN ELLIS
Hints of Color

You don’t have to scrap an all-white kitchen to stay on trend. Dip your toe in the color pool instead, whether you store colorful pottery in glass-front cabinets, bring in colorful furniture, or paint a large piece like this kitchen island in Tropical Moss by Dunn-Edwards Paints.

SHOP YELLOW PAINT

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DAVID TSAY
Open Kitchen and Living Areas

Maximize living space by making the family room and kitchen one large room. A mix of lighting helps differentiate the areas, while a uniform wall color keeps everything cohesive.

SHOP LIGHTING FIXTURES

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JOHN ELLIS
Pretty Pantries

Gone are the days of having a dark little pantry to house dry goods hidden away from prying eyes. Today’s kitchens boast roomy pantries with shelving aplenty for your cereals and collectibles. Proud of your organizational skills and want to show off? Finish the pantry space with a screened porch door painted in an eye-catching color, like this bright green hue.

SHOP GREEN PAINT

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JOHN ELLIS
Range of Colors

Appliance makers like Lacanche, Big Chill, and Smeg offer up a host of practical pieces in a number of colors and finishes, which will definitely liven up your range.

SHOP SMEG APPLIANCES

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kitchen trends rose gold

ANNIE SCHLECHTER
Copper Accents

If there’s one person who knows her way around a kitchen, it’s Martha Stewart. Her cooking area features copper pots and pans with an impressive collection of matching servingware.

SHOP COPPER COOKWARE

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kitchen trends reclaimed

RYANN FORD
Reclaimed Wood

To us, vintage will always be in. The owners of this Texas farmhouse show their love of repurposed pieces with matching reclaimed pine throughout the home.

SHOP RECLAIMED WOOD

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kitchen trends open

ALEC HEMER
Butcher Block Countertops

In this Massachusetts beach house, a savvy couple replaced linoleum with warm wood for a durable upgrade. Butcher block is virtually maintenance-free—it just needs an occasional coating of mineral oil—and the natural material is the perfect neutral to break up the sterility of an all-white palette.

SHOP MINERAL OIL

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LISA ROMEREIN/ RIZZOLI
Two-Tone Cabinets

Feel free to mix it up: Unified cabinetry is a thing of the past. Here, Diane Keaton features contrasting white and gray storage in her beautifully rustic kitchen.

SHOP CABINET PAINT

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kitchen trends colorful appliances

RIKKI SNYDER
Colorful Accents

With stainless steel on the way out, color is making a big comeback. Take a cue from this homeowner’s lively kitchen, which features a retro-inspired mint greenrefrigerator and dishwasher, plus a series of Smeg countertop appliances.

SHOP COLORFUL APPLIANCES

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kitchen trends concealed hood

BRIAN WOODCOCK
Concealed Range Hoods

If you feel inclined to give more attention to your appliances, backsplash, or accessories, then you’re going to be the first to embrace this new trend. Let your other kitchen elements steal the show with a sleek and minimalistic range hood like this onefashioned to blend in with the former chicken coop cabinets.

SHOP KITCHEN RUGS

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PHOTOGRAPHER: SIMON WATSON, DESIGNER: JEANETTE WHITSON
Darker Floors

If you choose a light paint for walls or cabinetry, select a dark floor stain to up the cozy factor of the room. Mix one-half Ebony and one-half Jacobean from Minwax.

Bonus idea: The addition of furniture-like “feet” gives cabinetry a softer, more custom feel.

SHOP WOOD STAIN

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PHOTOGRAPHER: NATHAN KIRMAN, DESIGNER: ANGIE HRANOWSKY
Think Beyond “Greige”

Gray undertones lend a timeless, totally livable vibe to most paint colors—not just beige—whether it’s a sophisticated blue-gray seen in this photo (Oyster Bay by Sherwin-Williams), a purple-gray (like Grayish by Sherwin-Williams), or green-gray (like Dry Sage by Benjamin Moore).

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PHOTOGRAPHER: JEAN ALLSOPP, DESIGNER: JOANNA GOODMAN FOR CHRISTOPHER ARCHITECTURE & INTERIORS
Heavy Up the Metal

The open shelving trend isn’t going anywhere, and in a kitchen void of upper cabinetry, the hood is inevitably the centerpiece. Dress it accordingly! Copper sheeting, with coordinating straps and rivets, adds age-old warmth.

SHOP COPPER HOODS

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PHOTOGRAPHER: THOMAS KUOH, DESIGNER: GRANT K. GIBSON
Design From the Ground Up

Rugs, however durable, aren’t practical for a heavy-use kitchen. Enter statement floor tile. It’s a more subtle way to add impact than, say, a bold eye-level backsplash.

Bonus idea: Tired of the same old subway tile? This on-trend square shape has a charming shingle-like effect.

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PHOTOGRAPHER: JEAN ALLSOPP, DESIGNER: DANIELLE YANCEY
Pecky Cypress Finishes

If you can’t get enough of the reclaimed-wood look, here are two words you’ll be hearing a lot: pecky cypress. Seen here on the hood and island, it’s a type of wood that has a grainy texture thanks to long, narrow burrows or cavities.

Bonus idea: From boxy appliances and islands to linear shelves, kitchens tend to have a lot of straight lines. Soften the room with orb lights.

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COURTESY OF DEVOL KITCHENS
Look Across the Pond

The (addictive!) Instagram feed of Britain’s deVOL kitchens offers an endless stream of age-old English inspiration, from decorative “spot cutouts” to painted wooden knobs. Take a cue from the kitchen experts and hide modern appliances such as microwaves in cabinetry that runs flush with the countertops.

SHOP WOOD KNOBS

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ANNIE SCHLECHTER
Open Shelving

Open shelves allow you to showcase your beautiful kitchenwares among other heirlooms and antiques, as well as statement wallpaper like in this kitchen design. The ability to see through your storage also means everything is easy to find.

SHOP SHELVING

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PHOTOGRAPHER: EMILY GILBERT, DESIGNER: JENNY WOLF INTERIORS
Embrace Black Appliances

Plain old stainless steel has its merits, but in a small kitchen, a giant swath of silvery metal can quickly dominate the room. Appliance manufacturers such as GE, Samsung, and Whirlpool have wised up to this dilemma, introducing refrigerators, stoves, and microwaves in sophisticated shades of black and slate. We’re particularly fond of the new LG “Black Stainless Steel” series, a collaboration with designer Nate Berkus.

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PHOTOGRAPHER: ERICA GEORGE, DESIGNER: BARBARA WESTBROCK
Now, Get Decorating!

The kitchen is the most utilitarian room in the house, which is why you obsess over the appliances, the backsplash, the sink…But it’s also the heart of the home. Subtle touches such as slipcovers, decorative hardware, and prized collections serve up a little softness.

Bonus idea: Save the top shelf for precious collectibles, and leave the lower ones to everyday items.

SHOP SLIPCOVERS

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